Afghanistan never allowed the Bangladeshi batsmen to get away © AFP
By Devarchit Varma
Mar 1, 2014
Afghanistan produced an all-round performance to thrash Asia Cup 2014 hosts Bangladesh by 32 runs, at Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah on Saturday. After setting up a target of 255, Afghanistan bundled out a spineless Bangladeshi side for 222 from 47.5 overs to register a memorable win in their debut tournament.
Mominul Haque scored a half-century and Nasir Hossain (41) and Naeem Islam (35) contributed significantly during Bangladesh’s chase. Towards the end, Ziaur Rehman smashed 41 off 22 balls, but their effort wasn’t enough to take Bangladesh past the finish line.
Bangladesh made a disastrous start in their chase as they were reduced to 1/2 by the Afghan bowlers early on. Opener Shamsur Rahman’s off-stump was knocked down by the burly Shapoor Zadran on the fifth ball of the innings, and soon in the second over, Hamid Hassan trapped Anamul Haque in front of the wickets.
A severely depleted Bangladesh side needed their skipper Mushfiqur Rahim to carry on the good form. The right-handed batsman struck a century in the previous clash against India and gave their side a good chance to put the opponents in pressure.
But Rahim did not look very comfortable at the crease and failed to gain momentum throughout his stay. He faced as many as 42 balls to score 23 runs, which included one boundary. However one might argue that the leg-before decision against Rahim wasn’t a great one as the batsman had moved forward, off Mohammad Nabi. The umpire thought otherwise and there was no way Bangladesh could have challenged that decision. Mushfiqur and Mominul Haque added 68 runs for the third wicket.
Meanwhile, Mominul from the other end batted exceptionally well to bring up his second half-century in 50-over cricket. The left-handed batsman was cautious and did not go for his shots. He struck six boundaries to achieve the feat, but he was bowled soon after that by Samiullah Shenwari. Bangladesh were reduced to 88 for four after 24.3 overs.
Hossain and Islam then joined forced to revive their side. The two right-handed batsmen added a crucial 73 runs for the fifth wicket not only to bail their side out of trouble but put their chase back on track. Hossain showed aggressive intent right from the time he arrived at the crease, and rode his luck to score 41 off 60 balls, hitting a boundary and a six. Hossain received as many as three lifelines — one by Asghar Stanikzai and two by Samiullah.
Islam, on the other hand, was cautious enough not to throw his wicket and give Hossain adequate support from the other end. However, the required run rate kept moving up and Bangladesh were not able to gain any momentum to force their way back in the game.
In the 39th over, Hossain fell to pressure when he was caught by Shenwari off Mirwais Ashraf. In the next over of Hamid Hassan, Bangladesh lost two wickets in as many balls which threw them out of contention.
However, Ziaur Rehman had other plans as he clobbered three sixes and four boundaries to score a quickfire 41 off 22, but Afghan captain Mohammad Nabi did well to remove him in the 44th over, which dashed all hopes of a Bangladeshi win.
Earlier in the day, Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari slammed brilliant half-centuries to lift Afghanistan to a daunting target of 255. After being asked to bat first, Afghanistan made a poor start but recovered well, thanks to a record 164-run stand for the sixth wicket between Stanikzai and Shenwari.
Stanikzai faced 103 balls and clobbered three sixes as well as six boundaries to score 90 not out, which also is his highest score in ODIs. On the other hand, Shenwari smashed 10 boundaries and a six to score 81 off just 69 balls. Their stubborn stand, which has put Bangladesh under tremendous pressure, was finally broken when Shenwari was run out on the penultimate ball of the innings.
Afghanistan 254 for 6 in 50 overs (Asghar Stanikzai 90*, Samiullah Shenwari 81; Arafat Sunny 2 for 44) beat Bangladesh 222 in 47.5 overs (Mominul Haque 50, Nasir Hossain 41, Naeem Islam 35, Ziaur Rehman 41; Shapoor Zadran 2 for 27, Hamid Hassan 2 for 26) by 32 runs.
Man of the Match: Samiullah Shenwari
Asia Cup 2014 Points Table
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)